Authority in most group scenarios is taken, not necessarily granted, so I decided to change up the rules a bit. And I mean rules in the literal sense. I created a game process called Praise or Concern (see at www.bizgames.biz) where a participant pulls a card which states "I have a Praise about..." or "I have a Concern about..." and then a second card that contains a topic. For instance something like "...my ability to listen to people inside the company" The individual then answers the statement created from both cards.
By creating this card game structure several things occur:
I'm surprised that individuals (even the alphas of a group) will play by the rules - they no longer act as alphas - but rather as participants
Everyone automatically answers the statement in the first person, and from their perspective - very little blame ever enters the process
The quiet members have an equal voice at the table since the cards go around the table
Individuals feel that the cards actually provides them permission to answer the cards with directness and authenticity
The game process does not allow anyone to prepare ahead of time - and therefore are more likely to provide a top of mind response
Topics get discussed that are important - yet not necessarily top of mind.
I've been testing this tool on leadership groups in small, medium and large organizations with phenomenal results. It totally changes the authority equation when everyone becomes an equal. And the employees feel that their voice is being heard.
Employees constantly rate that communication is a major problem in the organization. This tool has created a process for everyone's voice to come to the table. To push the envelope, we have created topics around leadership, organization and even learning environments.